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The purpose of the study was to investigate how undergraduate and graduate business management students, as well as those who had a managerial role in their career and who did not, differ on levels of soft skills (SRL strategies, motivation, and social skills) after gender was controlled. Moreover, we intended to investigate how well soft skills factors influence business students’ successes in an online learning environment after students’ individual characteristics and learning characteristics were controlled. To serve this purpose, this study conducted MANCOVA and hierarchical multiple regression analyses on data collected from 162 students in fully online business courses. First, the results of the study indicated that graduate students had higher level of soft skills than undergraduate students, especially in self-regulation and motivation. Likewise, students with managerial experiences demonstrated a higher level of soft skills. Next, hierarchical regression analysis revealed that the final regression model with all soft skills factors included could predict approximately 34% of the variance in students learning outcomes to a statistically significant level. In addition, goal setting, self-efficacy, and social skills were found to be significant predictors. We suggest that instructors and instructional designers should realize that soft skills are important contributor to the learning outcomes. Therefore, mechanisms to enhance student soft skills should be embedded into the online course in order to improve student learning outcomes. This should be especially a priority for undergraduate online courses because undergraduate students do not demonstrate higher soft skills compared to graduate students.

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Tseng, H., Yi, X., and Yeh, H. (November 2018). "Learning-related Soft Skills Among Online Business Students in Higher Education: Grade Level and Managerial Role Difference in Self-Regulation, Motivation, and Social Skill." Computers in Human Behavior. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2018.11.035



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